A Daughter of the King - Chapter Forty-Two
"What are you doing?" Mandy yawned.
"Wake up!" Elwen fairly jumped up, "We're preparing for the Summer Festival."
"Alright, I'll be down in a minute," Mandy stretched. Tethcelebel and Elwen grinned and walked out.
Mandy slipped on a light purple dress. She went out onto the balcony, brushing her hair. She glanced around, her spirit suddenly growing excited. The air tingled, buzzing with anticipation. She could see Elves bustling about carrying baskets of various foods. Some had blankets, and others had chairs: all were taking the things towards the clearing. Mandy watched them for a few seconds. Then she turned and walked swiftly down the stairs of the Mallorn, her gaze searching for Tethcelebel and Elwen.
Mandy's path led her to the clearing where many lights had been hung throughout the branches of the trees. There were many blankets spread on the grass. The blankets were silver, blue, light green, pure white: all shone with a star-like light. Chairs were set up at various places, some on the blankets, and others near the tables. The tables were layered with many foods of Lorien: one table had several kinds of fruit and another had wine specially brewed for the feast. Mandy noticed that on a rise in the clearing sat two great chairs. "Those must be for Galadriel and Celeborn," she thought to herself.
"You are right," the voice startled her. She turned and saw Orophin standing there, his arms clasped around three baskets of fruit one on top of the other.
"Here," Mandy laughed, "let me help you." He leaned down, carefully balancing the baskets while she reached up and took one of the baskets.
"Thank you," Orophin smiled, "Come, I will show you where to put them."
"Alright," she agreed and entered the clearing with him. The air tingled with excitement. She heard all of the birds in the trees singing joyously for summer was upon them. The Elves went about their duties, laughing and talking. Mandy listened, enchanted by the sound. The talk was mingled with singing and laughter like the happy murmurs of brooks. Many greeted her with joy, helping to set up. Orophin led her to one of the tables, and they set their baskets onto it.
"There," Orophin grinned, "and how is the princess of Gondor?"
"Very well, thank you," Mandy chuckled, "I am very happy to be here."
"I am glad to hear that," Orophin said softly, "and I think you will find our Summer Festival to be something of unequal quality."
"Unless it is the Fall Festival of Mirkwood, my dear Orophin," Elwen chimed in, coming up to them, "And we found you! You disappeared on us, Aarien."
"Sorry," Mandy shook her head, "I came down...and I got caught up in the excitement."
"We know," Tethcelebel said merrily, "it is impossible to not get caught up with the preparations."
"When does the feast begin?" Mandy questioned, walking with them to one of the blankets closest to the throne-like chairs.
"As soon as...." Tethcelebel broke off, "right now."
Suddenly, bells erupted from everywhere like the sound of laughter. Birds chirped gleefully, and Mandy could hear horses neighing. The talk of the Elves was hushed as Galadriel and Celeborn appeared at the far end of the clearing. The Elves rose as they walked towards the thrones. Celeborn wore a light green tunic with silver leaves etched onto it. On his head was a circlet of silver leaves. Galadriel wore a light blue dress with stars sewn intricately onto the hem, neckline, and sleeves. On her head, she wore a circlet, not of silver, but of niphredil, the white flowers that graced Lorien's floor. They walked gracefully up to the thrones. Celeborn handed Galadriel into the seat and turned. His hands rose to get the attention of the Elves (though it was not needed).
His clear and ageless voice rang through the clearing, "Let the Festival begin!" he called out.
The Elves cheered. Celeborn sat down, whispering something into Galadriel's ear, and her merry laughter echoed through the clearing, lifting spirits.
Elwen wore a soft green dress with a gold belt. On her head was a gold crown in the shape of Mirkwood leaves, like the one of Mandy's necklace. Her feet were bare, and her hair pulled back in a braid.
Tethcelebel walked up to her grandparents, greeting them. Mandy saw that she wore a pure white gown that had silver leaves and stars on it. She also had niphredil for a crown about her head, and her light hair floated about her, unbound by any tie. Her feet were bare and around her neck she wore the pendent of her mother's. Her grandparents greeted her warmly, talking with her.
As Galadriel and Tethcelebel stood together, Mandy was stunned at how alike they appeared. Tethcelebel looked like a younger version of Galadriel: she was just as tall as her grandmother and her hair was almost the exact colour of Galadriel's. Their eyes, which had the same timeless wisdom, now had the same merriment shining from them. As they talked, Tethcelebel burst into laughter as Celeborn told her something. Mandy felt refreshed as she wandered about the clearing, enjoying the company.
"Aarien!" Elwen called to her, "Come here!"
Mandy hurried over to her, "What is it?" she asked.
"Look," Elwen pointed, "Ohtarwen decided to come."
Sure enough, Ohtarwen raced into the clearing, sliding to a walk as she entered. She looked rather uncomfortable because Galadriel had convinced her to wear a dress instead of her normal tunic and pants. The dress was a pale blue with a silver belt. Her short hair was in a braid, and she wore a single jewel on her head bound by a thin silver chain. On her finger was her ring.
"Ohtarwen!" Elwen and Mandy walked over to her, "You decided to come."
"Of course," Ohtarwen said, "why wouldn't I?"
"I don't know," Elwen laughed, "but you're late."
"I know that," Ohtarwen rolled her eyes, "It took me forever to get my hair to do this. Finally one of the girls did it for me."
"Well, I'm glad you made it, mellonnin," Elwen slapped her shoulder, "Come, I bet you're hungry."
"Yes I am," Ohtarwen followed them to the tables.
Towards the end of the first night of the feast, Mandy glanced over at her friends. Ohtarwen was laying face-down on the blanket, her head propped up on her elbows, her eyes closed, and her ears taking in all of the beautiful singing. Elwen was leaning against a tree-trunk in the shadows, her arms folded easily across her chest, and listening to the music. Mandy turned her gaze to Tethcelebel. She was up near the musicians, singing merrily about the summer. Mandy sighed and smiled, glad to be there. Elwen motioned to her. Mandy shook Ohtarwen and they all walked back towards the flets. They followed most of the Elves while some others lingered behind to clean up a little for the next day.
The feast lasted a little over a week. Over the course of the week, there were many dances, singing, and games played. Some of the most fun games were the good-natured competitions between people, mainly between girls and boys. The boys were always challenging the girls to races, swordfights, or archery contests. Sometimes the girls won and others the boys won. But no matter who was the winner of that round, the `teens' of the Elves had great fun together, and there was much food and fellowshipping. On one of the days....
"Hey, Elwen!" a girl slid to a stop before them, "Orophin said he and Rumil could take you and Ohtarwen in archery."
"He did?" Tethcelebel raised an eyebrow and glanced knowingly at Elwen.
"C'mon, Celebel," Elwen grinned, "Let's go."
Tethcelebel and Elwen walked swiftly towards the open clearing where the `teens' were all at. Mandy and Ohtarwen were already there, watching some of the finishing matches between Orophin and Rumil and some other girls.
"Told you they would come," Ohtarwen gloated at Rumil who rolled his eyes.
Elwen shrugged off her cloak, and the girls picked up their bows.
"Ready to get beat again?" Orophin taunted Elwen.
"We'll see about that," Elwen retorted, notching an arrow, "Whenever you're ready."
Orophin nodded at the target, "Ladies first."
Elwen shook her head and let loose the arrow. A dull thud resounded and then cheering. She had gotten it dead center.
"Beat that." she laughed, stepping out of the way.
Orophin swallowed and notched an arrow. He aimed carefully and let it loose. Amazed cries arose as the arrow struck side by side hers.
Then it was Ohtarwen and Rumil's turn. Ohtarwen allowed Rumil to go first. It was a habit of hers to gage how well she had to do in order to beat someone. Rumil shot the arrow and was just barely off-center. Ohtarwen grinned. She swiftly notched an arrow and let fly. It thudded dead center. Cheers roared from both sides of the crowd, and Orophin and Rumil being good sports, cheered with them.
"Good job," Rumil shook Ohtarwen's hand.
"Thanks," Ohtarwen said graciously, striding back to where Tethcelebel and Mandy were at.
"Nice shooting," Orophin grinned.
"You too," Elwen grinned back.
Elwen laughed and ran to where her friends were at. The girls were all laughing and singing merrily as they walked back to the feast area. Their hair was down, their voices light and carefree, and their feet dancing. The boys followed, singing and dancing with them. They made a lasting impression on the Elves that were there, but if one of the race of Men was there, twould be a sight no living man could or would forget.
So the summer months flew by for Mandy. The days were occupied with feasting, riding, and sword-fighting with Tethcelebel, Elwen, Ohtarwen, and Orophin. Orophin joined them more and more on their walks and times together; and the girls welcomed him easily into the group. Tethcelebel smiled at the remembrance of many summers ago where she and her cousins had spent several lazy months together.
Before Mandy knew it, the air in Lorien had a brisker feel to it, not quite as lazy as the summer. The leaves began to get tinged with gold around the edges while the flowers seemed to be preparing for cold. One day, Elwen came up to Mandy.
"Aarien," Elwen sat down next to her, "autumn is upon us. Would you like to come to the Fall Feast in Mirkwood? Tethcelebel and Ohtarwen would come too."
"I...I would like that." Mandy nodded, "Yes, I will."
"Good," Elwen grinned, getting up, "then pack your things. We leave the day after tomorrow."
Mandy stayed sitting, wondering how Legolas was and her family back in Gondor, especially her new brother.
hi! i'm sorry if it's going fast...it's just the way i wrote it. and i was kidna running out of ideas (i didn't want to start repeating the same thing over and over again). so anywhoo, hope you enjoyed it!!